Keywords: conifers, deciduous, forest, forestland, forest products, forest stewardship, land ethic, overstory, regeneration, renewable resources, sapling, seedling, silviculture, trees need wildlife, understory, wetlands, wildlife use of trees; Lesson Plan Grade Level: 5-8; Total Time Required: 5 days; Setting: the lesson will require two meetings in the classroom and three meetings using the computer laboratory

Subjects covered: The lesson will include environmental science, computer science, history, graphic design and written language.

Goals for the lesson

Since Pennsylvania 4-H will celebrate its Centennial in 2012, youth will learn about the history of Pennsylvania Forestry by comparing it to the history of Pennsylvania 4-H and creating a promotional 4-H PowerPoint.

Materials needed

The class will need to have access to a computer lab with the Professional PowerPoint Program included, historic 4-H resources and accurate digital photographs necessary to create the promotional tool.

State Standards addressed:
4.2.4.A: Identify needs of people
4.2.4.B: Identify products derived from natural resources
4.2.4.C: Know that some natural resources have limited life spans
4.2.4.D: Identify by-products and their use of natural resources
8.2.6.C: Explain how continuity and change have impacted PA history

  • Commerce and industry
  • Technology
  • Physical and human geography

8.2.7.C: Explain how continuity and change have impacted Pennsylvania history as related to local communities

  • Commerce and industry
  • Technology
  • Physical and human geography

8.2.8.C: Compare and contrast the ways continuity and change have impacted Pennsylvania history

  • Commerce and industry
  • Technology
  • Physical and human geography


a. Begin by asking students to share their understanding of why 4-H, Penn State University's youth development program, was started in Pennsylvania.
b. Explain to the class that 4-H groups started up as a method for land grant university's in the Midwest to teach new agricultural techniques to farm families, as most farmers were hesitant to try new methods, using hybrid seed corn for example.
c. Ask the students to share how they believe this knowledge is related to the history of forestry in Pennsylvania.
d. Explain this comparison by having the youth view the "History of Pennsylvania Forestry" PowerPoint created by Dr. Sandford Smith.
e. Further explain that when the Pennsylvania forests were cleared over 100 years ago, was when agriculture became the number one industry in Pennsylvania and when Penn State University, Pennsylvania's Land Grant University, introduced the 4-H traditional club programs in counties across the Commonwealth.
f. At the conclusion of this session, ask the class members to count off by ten in order to divide the class into ten equal groups. Youth numbered 10 to 20 will be asked to research the decade of 2012 to 2022, youth numbered 20 to 30 will research the decade of 2022 to 2032, youth numbered 30 to 40 will research decade 2032 to 2042 and so on until all the decades are covered.
g. The following meeting will be held at the extension office where the students will have access to the 4-H Forestry Curriculum, the various historic 4-H resources and the use of the county computer lab to look up their decade on the internet.
h. Each group will need to find their specific decade and any interesting facts about it and how it relates to the history of Pennsylvania and the history of Pennsylvania 4-H.
i. During the following two meetings the students will need to create a 4-H Promotional PowerPoint that includes the above listed information for their assigned decade.
j. On the final day of the project each group will be given ten minutes to present their PowerPoint showing what they learned about the Pennsylvania Forestry History and Pennsylvania 4-H History comparison.
k. Using their enhanced decision making skills, they will decide as a group how to best combine and attractively format these ten decades of information into one promotional tool.
l. When the assignment has been completed the PowerPoint may be duplicated for use statewide in promotion of the successes of Pennsylvania 4-H.


The youth will be evaluated through the 4-H Youth Development Pennsylvania Study, developed by Perkins, D.F. & Mincemoyer, C. entitled "Skills for Everyday Living." The surveys are given as a pre-test and as a post-test and must be completed by each student individually, where they circle the statement that best fits how often they did what is described in the last 30 days. The surveys are entered into a web based data collection system and used for program evaluation and improvement.
a. Critical Thinking in Everyday Life questions the youth on how students might think about certain things in their daily life.
b. Skills for Everyday Living questions the youth on how the students might communicate, solve problems, make decisions and achieve goals in everyday life.

Literature/sources cited

A slide show DVD entitled "The Pennsylvania Forest" by Jim Nelson, Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences Cooperative Extension publication entitled Junior Forest Steward was used to define many of the keywords used in the lesson; Penn State University Publication entitled Community Conflicts over Agriculture, Land Use, and Natural Resources and an historic "4-H in Pennsylvania" handout, written by Jerry H. Reyburn and may be viewed at .


Wanda Braymer, Crawford County 4-H Educator, Penn State Cooperative Extension - Crawford County


a. Conifers - softwood trees, evergreen trees; trees that bear cones and have needles or scale leaves.
b. Deciduous - hardwood trees; that lose their leaves each fall.
c. Forest - a place dominated by trees and other woody plants.
d. Forestland - land covered with trees.
e. Forest products - things that people make from forest materials or use directly from the forest (ex: maple syrup, firewood, water, many types of wood, food, medicine and chemicals)
f. Forest Stewardship - the wise management and use of forest resources today to ensure their health and productivity for future generations: may involve helping, improving, enhancing, promoting, encouraging, and/or maintaining the forest.
g. Land ethic - the principles and values guiding our use and treatment of the land.
h. Overstory - the trees that form the top layer of the forest.
i. Regeneration - (1) the young trees that will develop into the future forest; (2) the replacement of one forest stand by another as a result of natural seeding, sprouting, planting, or other methods.
j. Renewable resources - naturally occurring things that can grow again, reproduce, or never run out, such as trees, plants wildlife or solar and wind energy.
k. Sapling - a small tree, between 2 and 4 inches in diameter and measured 4 ½ half feet off the ground.
l. Seedling - a young tree originating from seed that is less than 4 feet tall and smaller than 2 inches in diameter at the ground level.
m. Silviculture - the art, science, and practice of establishing, managing and reproducing forest stands.
n. Trees need wildlife - to spread their seeds, fertilize the soil, pollinate their flowers and protect them from insects that eat their leaves.
o. Understory - the smaller plants (shrubs, seedling, saplings, small trees and the herbaceous plants of the forest floor) within a forest found below the overstory.
p. Wetlands - land with water on or under their surface for at least several weeks each year.
q. Wildlife use of trees - for shelter, food and places to hide and rest.